Summary: Jesus shed tears while others were rejoicing and proclaiming Him the Messiah. We need to ask, "Why?" and if what Jesus saw on that day so long ago was not what He was looking for, then we need to be asking, "What does God want from Me Anyway?"
What Does God Want From Me Anyway? - Luke 19:38-44 - April 17, 2011
(Palm Sunday Service)
I know I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it too. You might have even done it this morning as ____________________ read those verses of Scripture for us. In some ways it is hard not to do - it’s hard not to picture, in your mind’s eye, the events of that day when Jesus road into Jerusalem, fulfilling the words of prophecy spoken by Zechariah, when he declared, Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey. Zechariah 9:9
And they did rejoice and they did shout out to all who would hear, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9-10 And they took this word, “Hosanna!,” which means, “Save!,” or “Save us, we pray!,” and they turned it into an exclamation of praise and celebration. In their minds, deliverance was at hand, and they went wild with excitement.
Some Bible translations even title this passage of Scripture, “The Triumphal Entry.” And you can see why - they had all the makings of a victory parade, didn’t they? People lined the streets shouting praises to God. They followed behind Jesus, they went on ahead of Jesus, and they declared the coming of the Messiah – the anointed one of God – the one who they had been waiting generations for, and who, they believed, had finally come to set them free. They were seeing the Word of God fulfilled before their very eyes. And so the people rejoiced with great zeal – laying down their cloaks and lining the way with palm branches - in honour of the man who rode in their midst.
And yet while all around Him celebrated, and praised God, the one who was at the heart of what was taking place, Jesus Himself, responded very differently. Open your Bibles with me this morning, please, to the Gospel of Luke. Luke 19 and we’ll begin reading in verse 38.
Luke tells us that the crowds cried out “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” [But] Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Luke 19:38-44
Now that’s quite a contrast, isn’t it? While the majority of those around Him celebrated, Jesus wept. His tears, amidst so much happiness, seem out of place, and that should cause us to ask, “Why?” Why would Jesus weep while others rejoiced? Why would He shed tears of sorrow while others laughed? What was Jesus looking to find that day but did not? What did He see that He wished He had not? What didn’t He see that He desired to? And here is a bigger question still: Is it possible that as people in our day – as even we – worship and praise and celebrate – that Jesus weeps still? I mean, if what took place in that day caused Jesus to weep with tears of sorrow, we could very well ask, “Then what does God want from me anyway?” “If this isn’t it, if this isn’t pleasing to God, then what is? What is He looking for from me?”
And to answer that question we need to understand just what it was that day that broke the heart of the Son of God. If we look back to verse 38 we see again that the people are praising God. They are shouting out, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Luke 19:38 And what they are actually doing is quoting a phrase from the Book of Psalms. Keep your place here in Luke, but turn with me for a moment, to Psalm 118. This is what we could call a “Messianic Psalm.” It’s a psalm that not only described something that had happened in the time that it was written, but it also had a prophetic aspect to it as well. In the words of the psalm there was a looking ahead to that day when the Messiah – when Jesus – would come and deliver His people. So let’s start reading in verse 19 and as we read it, see if you can’t help but see these words being fulfilled, in Jesus.